Face time with Jennifer Battle
Director of the Office of Campus Sustainability
Editor’s note: This is part of a package titled “Keeping campus greener on both sides.” To read about how MSU Greenpeace recently reacted to the Energy Transition Plan, click here.
Last spring, the MSU Board of Trustees passed the Energy Transition Plan, which listed strategies to actualize the university’s vision and run on 100 percent renewable energy, not coal. Although some students have challenged the plan’s timeline and some of its details, Jennifer Battle, the director of the Office of Campus Sustainability, said the plan is the best way for the university to feasibly and efficiently reach its goal.
Last week, The State News spoke with Battle and asked about the current track of the plan.
– Samantha Radecki, The State News
The State News: What are the plan’s goals?
Jennifer Battle: When the transition plan was passed last spring, we set a (timeline) of moving toward 100 percent clean energy and there were three main goals: to improve the physical environment, invest in sustainable energy research and development and to become a sustainability leader.
SN: As of June 2012, MSU was down 14 percent in reducing greenhouse emissions and has increased renewable energy by 2 percent. Are we on track to meet the set goals for 2015?
JB: (The 2 percent) doesn’t include the (installment of the) anaerobic digester (and) … the geothermal energy system, and it doesn’t include the gains we are making in their efficiency … There are a lot of things that we can still do, these are just some things. It may not look like a straight line, but we are working at getting it (done) and doing it in the most (sufficient) and sustainable way for the university.
SN: How detrimental are the emissions from the T.B. Simon Power Plant, which runs on coal, biomass and natural gas?
JB: We do believe that (greenhouse gas emissions) do have a (negative) effect on the environment … I think that we do in a transition have to be sensitive, balancing having the power plant and health and the cost.
SN: Do you encourage students to be involved in the plan and its objectives?
JB: I like the fact that people care and they are doing what they believe. … I like the fact that people want to be more aggressive, and I would invite those students to look for more … ways to look for us to be more aggressive with our plan.